An Upper Ordovician sponge-bearing micritic limestone and implication for early Palaeozoic carbonate successions

Jino Park, Jeong Hyun Lee, Jongsun Hong, Suk Joo Choh, Dong Chan Lee, Dong Jin Lee

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21 Citations (Scopus)


A potentially new type of non-reef sponge-bearing micritic limestone is reported from the Upper Ordovician Xiazhen Formation of south-eastern China. The sponges are preserved as incomplete skeletons that consist of curved bifurcated and trifurcated spicules embedded in dark micrite, and can only be recognized under a petrographic microscope. The characteristics of the spicule networks suggest that the sponges are probably belonging to demosponges. However, based on the absence of features such as desma, zygome, a distinct dermal layer, and a canal system, they are not considered to be lithistids. The majority of the sponges are found in a lime mudstone facies, together with some micritic portions of wackestone to grainstone facies, comprising approximately 13% of the 50-m thick micritic limestone successions. It is interpreted that the non-lithistid demosponges flourished on soft substrates over shallow marine carbonate platform. Such sponge-bearing carbonates are similar to spiculites and spongolites in terms of being a major constituent of the sedimentary rocks and their potential contribution as sediment producers, but affinity and modes of preservation of the Xiazhen sponges are significantly different to those of the spiculites and spongolites. In light of the present finding, it is suggested that non-lithistid demosponges may have been more widespread in early Palaeozoic non-reef carbonates than has previously been recognized, thus indicating the critical need for further detailed studies if we are to understand their distributions and sedimentological contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalSedimentary Geology
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 5

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Demosponge
  • Micritic carbonate
  • Sponge-rich facies
  • Upper Ordovician

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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